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MSU-Meridian receives $25,000 gift for new PANTA initiative

April 4, 2017
MSU-Meridian receives $25,000 gift for new PANTA initiative

         MERIDIAN, Miss.— Mississippi State University-Meridian today [April 4] received a $25,000 gift from the East Mississippi Center for Educational Development to support the university’s  Professional Advancement Network for Teacher Assistants initiative.
           EMCED, a regional educational service agency, partners with 25 central Mississippi school districts and Mississippi State to promote high-quality instruction. The organization is committed to supporting public educators’ efforts to develop quality-learning environments.
            Don Brantley, the center’s executive director, said helping teacher assistants pursue a degree in elementary education at MSU-Meridian is a win-win situation.
           “By providing this scholarship funding to teacher assistants from one of our partner districts, we will – in effect – help fill a need for qualified teachers at a time when many of these districts are facing a critical teacher shortage,” Brantley said.
           Jeffrey Leffler, assistant professor of elementary education in the university’s Division of Education and PANTA adviser sees the gift as a “great investment that will help teacher assistants who already have, in some cases, years of classroom experience, receive the necessary preparation to become certified teachers.”
           Leffler pointed out that while similar programs, like PANTA, are offered at universities and colleges around the state, MSU-Meridian’s is the only one with a hybrid format, combining online and face-to-face instruction to optimize student learning experiences in the university’s elementary education program.
          “We certainly are excited about introducing the PANTA initiative on our local campus this summer,” said Terry Dale Cruse, administrative director and head of campus at MSU-Meridian. We are even more thrilled, however, at the generosity of Don Brantley and EMCED for their confidence in Mississippi State as a leader in teacher education.”
           For more information about PANTA, contact Leffler at jleffler@meridian.msstate.edu or call MSU-Meridian’s advising center at 601-484-0229.
           Complete details about MSU-Meridian are online at www.meridian.msstate.edu.
           MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

MSU PHOTO ID: Terry Dale Cruse, administrative director and head of campus at MSU-Meridian (left) and Richard Blackbourn, dean of MSU’s College of Education (right) are pictured with Don Brantley, executive director of the East Mississippi Center for Educational Development April 4 after the center presented the Meridian Campus with a gift of $25,000 to support the university’s Professional Advancement Network for Teacher Assistants initiative that will begin this summer at MSU-Meridian. (Photo by Lisa Sollie)


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